A tree, usually small but occasionally 80 ft or more high in the wild, the bark of the trunk separating from it into long, loose, plate-like scales; young shoots at first coated with a loose, pale down. Leaves 9 to 15 in. long, made up of seven to thirteen leaflets, which are of narrow lanceolate shape with long tapered points, finely, often inconspicuously toothed, obliquely rounded or tapered at the base; 21⁄2 to 51⁄2 in. long, 1⁄2 to 11⁄2 in. wide; at first covered with pale down which mostly falls away during the summer. Fruits egg-shaped, pointed, conspicuously four-winged, 1 to 11⁄2 in. long; kernel bitter.
Native of the S.E. United States; discovered about the beginning of the nineteenth century. It inhabits low, swampy, often inundated places and, as it is associated in a wild state with Liquidambar styraciflua and Taxodium distichum, should, one would imagine, be as hardy as they are, but it is apparently not adapted to our climate. The long, unusually narrow leaflets make it distinct amongst the hickories.